Saturday, 27 August 2011

Shut Up, Hitler!

Well, Doctor Who returned tonight with a deeply strange, but extremely fun episode. With a title like Let's Kill Hitler, it had to be a bit of a barmy one, but I wasn't expecting it to play out like it did. Some beautiful performances, great writing, a strong mix of humour and pathos, and some important forwarding of this year's ongoing storyline. Strange that after all the drawn out mystery of the past series-and-a-half, more seemed to happen to drive things forward in this one episode than in the last seven. I won't go into details here; not only will a lot of people not have watched it yet, but I'll be penning a full review for Whotopia magazine over the next few days. Make sure you catch it if you already haven't, though - it's a cracking episode.

Along with the trailer for next week's spooky-looking episode, it's boding well for a fine second half of the season. Far better than the current Torchwood revamp. That's not to say I'm not enjoying Miracle Day, but it's been hugely flawed so far. The central concept is sci-fi gold: what would happen if, one day, eveyone stopped dying? A deceptively simple high concept, taking to its logical conclusion to explore human nature - that's what science fiction's all about. So it's a shame that the actual series has had so much wrong with it. The plotting's all over the place; sudden twists and revelations pop out of nowhere at the end of episodes because it't time for another surprise, not because the plot demands them. The core character's are all deeply stupid, handing over vital evidence to obvious villains, and phoning their families in the middle of major crises, despite being on the run. In fact, the writers seem to forget that the main characters are fugitives for several episodes at a time. John Barrowman and Eve Myles really can't compete with the new American cast, either. Actors like Bill Pullman, Alexa Havins and Lauren Ambrose really up the game for a show like this. Having Eve Myles throwing a Welsh wobbly in the middle of an episode brings it all crashing back down again.

And, while I'm all for more gay sex on television, the sexy dialogue thrown about here should never have made it to paper, let alone film. Still, applause for the truly nasty elements on show. It's nothing compared to most horror films these days, but there's been some strong stuff for prime time TV.

Whatever, I'm deeply involved in it now, and there are only three episodes left. It finally feels like we're getting somewhere with the mysteries behind the Miracle. I'll watch it to the end, and no doubt enjoy it; it just seems like a drop in quality after the superb Children of Earth. Probably the best Who spin-off out there now is The Minister of Chance, which I'm glad to say is gearing up to produce a third episode. Check it out - it's only £1.29 an episode, and the prologue's free!

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